Space

James Webb launch delayed following incident during preparations

James Webb launch delayed foll...
The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope has been delayed by a few days
The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope has been delayed by a few days
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The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope has been delayed by a few days
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The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope has been delayed by a few days

The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has suffered yet another delay – but at least this time, it’s only a matter of days. NASA says that additional testing of the instrument now needs to be conducted after an incident during launch preparations.

The JWST is currently being prepared at a facility in Kourou, French Guiana, ahead of its launch in December. NASA reports that technicians were attaching the telescope to the launch vehicle adapter, which would then be attached to the upper stage of the Ariane 5 rocket that will carry it into orbit. A clamp band suddenly released, which sent vibrations through the JWST.

A review board, led by NASA, determined that additional testing is needed to ensure that these vibrations haven’t damaged any components in the observatory. As such, the launch date has been moved from December 18 to “no earlier than” December 22.

While it’s certainly disappointing to have another delay in such an important instrument, it’s much better option to spend four extra days checking for any issues, rather than finding out after launch. After all, James Webb is destined for the second Lagrange point (L2) in the Earth-Sun system, which is too far away to send astronauts to service it, as they have with Hubble in the past.

Hopefully the inspections give it the all-clear for launch, and we don’t have to wait too much longer for the incredible images James Webb will deliver.

Source: NASA

4 comments
4 comments
bothib
Will you people please get that thing up. I am an old man and I don't have a lot of time left and I want to see what this thing can do. Thank you!
Chris Coles
This telescope is far away the most important space telescope for humanity; we need to know about ANY reason why it may be damaged . . . the who, what, why and when. Why did the clamp band suddenly release? Was the clamp band something that is normally attached to any such satellite? Have there been any other such incidents? Does the normal function of such a clamp band operate in space as a part of the delivery system? In which case how does anyone know of the effects of such release in space? Telling us something went wrong is insufficient; we deserve to know the full facts.
c2cam
@Chris Coles - good points. But does the release of said clamp cause any vibrations in zero gravity? If the unintended release caused such concern, then it must have been a pretty significant jarring! Especially in comparison to the amount of vibration it is designed to endure during launch and the journey to zero-g.
ljaques
Forget the ion drives with a handful of Newtons of push. Work on getting us gravity drives, which will likely also give us inertial dampening, which will allow us to speed through space at percentages of C (speed of light). Anyway, just finish checking and/or fixing the JW and get it launched and up there for its important work.